Notes: Unexpected MVP

A walk-on fullback from La Crosse Central, redshirt freshman Jason Hengel probably had minimal expectations for Saturday's spring game. With Bradie Ewing held out, Hengel had a game-best 62 yards, putting himself in position to possibly contribute in the fall.

MADISON - With senior starter Bradie Ewing (shoulder) and freshman reserve Sherard Cadogan (concussion) both sidelined Saturday, freshman Jason Hengel received a heavy load of work at fullback.

Hengel made the most of his opportunity, catching four passes for a game-high 62 yards.

"It was a great opportunity with Bradie out, so it was really nice to get some reps today, some solid work."

Hengel received no Division 1 offers coming out of La Crosse Central High School. He received interest from a few Division 2 schools, but he instead opted to enroll at Wisconsin and play football as a walk-on.

"I bet you nobody on the team got more reps than he did," Wisconsin head coach Bret Bielema said of Hengel.

Bielema said Hengel reminds him of former Badgers fullback Bill Rentmeester.

"Hengel came to us, really, in the fall. During bowl practice really jumped (out)," Bielema said. "There's a couple practices where I was like ‘This guy likes to make contact.' He's a little fluid. Kind of reminds me a little bit of a Billy Rentmeester when Billy was younger."

Unexpected player scores game's only points

Freshman kicker Kyle French's 44-yard field goal in the second quarter marked the only true points scored in Saturday's game.

No touchdowns were scored and senior kicker Philip Welch missed on all three of his field goal attempts (49 yards, 52, 38).

"It feels pretty good," French, who will likely enter the season as the team's No. 3 kicker, said of having the only score. "Obviously, we kind of struggled a little bit on offense, but we'll be fine for the coming season."

While Welch failed on all of his tries during the game Saturday, he made field goals of 58 and 61 yards during ‘Rapid Fire' kicking sessions between quarters.

"I would have liked to make them," Welch said of his in-game attempts. "But I'll be stronger by the season."

Borland makes appearance…as punter

While playing linebacker wasn't an option for sophomore Chris Borland, Bielema decided to get Borland into the game…as a punter.

With senior punter Brad Nortman getting extra work because of the offensive's poor showing (12 punts), Bielema allowed Borland to punt with 4 minutes remaining. His attempt went 32 yards.

Borland had surgeries on both shoulders last season and has missed time each of the last two years.

"I know he's been chomping at the bit," Bielema said of Borland. "I walked over to him, I said ‘You want to punt?' He said ‘I've got no clothes.' I go ‘I'm talking about punting. I don't need you to run a drill.'"

Play of the day

Sophomore linebacker A.J. Fenton didn't waste much time making an impression Saturday. Working with the second defensive unit, Fenton batted a pass from freshman quarterback Joe Brennan high in the air, whirled around and used both hands to haul in the interception.

"We were in man coverage and the offense had a play action – I ended up being the hole player – so I just kind of sat in my zone," Fenton said of the interception. "The quarterback made a throw, I kind of stuck an arm up, tipped it up. I thought it was going to go over my head, but I turned around and it was still right there, so I hopped on it, tried to make a play."

Sophomore quarterback Jon Budmayr was unable to capitalize on the short field, though. Senior cornerback Devin Smith intercepted an underthrown pass by Budmayr the very next play.

Fenton, who nearly had a couple other interceptions, finished the game with four tackles.

‘As good as we've had'

With senior Zach Brown back in the mix this season, Bielema called his team's top three at the running back position "as good as we've had since I've been here."

Junior Montee Ball, who rushed for 996 yards and 18 touchdowns last year, and sophomore James White, who led the Badgers with 1,052 rushing yards a season ago, comprise the team's top two at the position.

Brown finished Saturday with nine carries for 33 yards working with the second offensive unit.

Brown, who has registered 1,152 rushing yards during his career, redshirted last year after he fell to fourth on the team's depth chart.

Extra points: Freshman offensive lineman Dallas Lewallen left the game in the second quarter with what Bielema called a "knee cap" injury…freshman defensive back Peniel Jean recorded a game-high nine tackles … UW officials said the approximate attendance in Saturday's game with around 10,000.


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